How the Cubs combat frigid temperatures at Wrigley Field
A few hours before the Cubs took the field for their game against the New York Mets Tuesday night at Wrigley Field, snow flurries fluttered around Chicagoland.
First pitch came at 36 degrees.
Wednesday night offered little reprieve — a couple degrees warmer but the flurries turned into a light snowfall about an hour before game time.
Of course, none of that stopped Jake Arrieta from wearing short sleeves on the mound Tuesday night as everybody else was bundled up.
“I don’t think you’ll ever see me in sleeves,” he said matter-of-factly after the game.
Arrieta has never felt comfortable in long sleeves and doesn’t believe an extra layer makes much of a difference anyways.
“When I’m out there, I don’t really get all that cold,” he said. “The most important thing is keeping the right hand warm and if you’re able to do that, it makes your job a little bit easier.”
In between innings during his start Tuesday night, Arrieta stayed loose and kept the blood flowing by hopping on the stationary bike in the Cubs clubhouse.
Joc Pederson joked he would deal with the elements by having a snowball fight. He is spending his first April playing half his games in Chicago’s climate after spending his entire big-league career in Los Angeles prior to 2021.
Pederson typically rocks his pants up with his Cubbie blue socks showing. But due to the cold, he instead donned long johns and kept his pants down.
Jason Heyward has talked in the past about making sure he spends some time around the heaters in the Cubs dugout, especially before a plate appearance.
“I don’t have many superstitions, but if there’s one superstition, it’s to make sure I got myself close by so I can get to the heater before I go out and have that at-bat,” Heyward said last spring.
We saw that Tuesday night, as the Cubs players did anything they could to keep themselves warm — including putting their batting gloves and helmets in front of the heater:
David Ross believes the focus for players is finding a way to layer up without inhibiting movement on the field.
“A lot of these guys are used to the cold weather here in Chicago,” he said. “Myself — I haven’t had to manage many cold games yet. Just standing out there in the freezing cold, I guess my bones are getting a little more frigid as I get older ’cause it’s definitely harder to stand there than it was to play.
“I think for the most part, it’s about getting loose and getting in the flow of the game. Once you get out there and get a couple innings under your belt, things kinda loosen up.”
Not that any of that is an excuse, however.
“Some of these guys come in [off the field] cold but these guys are professional,” Ross said, “and they’ve done it for a long time.”
The Cubs were lucky early in the season. The weather for Opening Day on April 1 was in the 30s but later in the first homestand, temperatures hovered in the 70s and even dipped into the low-80s.
That’s April baseball in Chicago for you.